Top national maths honour for Lawn Manor Academy pupil

By Barrie Hudson - 24 August 2021

  • Patrick Gillen's score not only earned a Distinction but went far beyond the threshold for one

    Patrick Gillen's score not only earned a Distinction but went far beyond the threshold for one

A Year 7 pupil at Lawn Manor Academy has won a Distinction in the nation’s elite mathematics Olympiad.

  • Patrick Gillen with teacher Freya Koza

    Patrick Gillen with teacher Freya Koza

Patrick Gillen, 12, won Gold and Best in School in the UK Mathematics Trust’s Junior Mathematical Challenge earlier this summer, and was the first pupil from Lawn Manor Academy to reach the national event. 

Only around 1,200 of the very highest maths performers in the UK are invited to take part in the Junior Olympiad. Now Patrick, who was one of the younger pupils in the event, has been told he scored 48 marks in the challenge - far beyond the 37 required to qualify for a distnction.

Freya Koza, who teaches maths at Lawn Manor Academy, said Patrick’s performance in the Olympiad was nothing short of stunning.

She added: “Patrick has not only achieved the school’s highest ever score in one of the UK’s most difficult maths challenges, but he has gone on to achieve an amazingly high score at the Olympiad itself.

“We are so proud of him. He is a naturally gifted mathematician, but he is also very modest about his ability, and just gets on with solving problems. His performance is absolutely remarkable, putting him up there with the most talented young mathematicians in the country. 

"We are delighted that his hard work and his gift for maths has been recognised on the national stage.”

Each year, the UK Mathematics Trust sets pupils from years 7 and 8 high-quality problems to encourage mathematical thinking. Pupils who take part sit two applied maths papers under exam conditions, and have to complete them using mental arithmetic, as calculators are not allowed.

Patrick revealed that despite the reputation mathematics has for being very difficult, he really enjoyed the subject.

He said: “Maths is such a big part of the world, which is why I find it interesting

“I’m lucky that I find it quite easy to work out solutions in my head, although a calculator can help at times. It’s hard to explain how I do it – I think I just find it easy to see how numbers go together. I really like learning about how different kinds of maths make our world work. 

“I liked maths from as far back as I can remember. It was my favourite subject at primary school. I don't know exactly what career I’d like when I’m an adult, yet, but I'd like to do something involving maths or science."

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